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single25-Jan-2005languageCarolL by votes581253.8%


At what point does murder become assassination?

I heard on t.v. last night that at one point there was an "assassination attempt" on Johnny Carson. Why wasn't it referred to as "attempted murder"?
If you can, include examples of someone on either side of the line according to your definition of what the difference is.

23The difference is status/position.
12The difference has to do with something else.
10I don't know.
1The difference has to do with money.
1The difference has to do with celebrity.

posted 26-Jan-2005 7:18am  
Sorry everybody -- I didn't get a chance to correct the sentence before it got through qual.
Could we pretend the question reads: At what point does murder become assassination?

I was having trouble spelling assassination and got caught up in that......
posted 26-Jan-2005 8:51am  
It has to do with how well known a person is. Assassination is taking out a figure-head of some type. Attempted murder is taking out anyone.
posted 26-Jan-2005 9:14am  
As I understand it, assassination is about the purpose of the murder. If it's politically motivated, then it's assassination.
posted 26-Jan-2005 9:25am  
What caviar said.
bill Bronze Star Survey Creator
posted 26-Jan-2005 9:26am  
Language is a tool... people choose words for effect... correctness rarely comes into play... in this case, "assassination attempt" seemed more dramatic. The reporter who chose those words was pushing it, hoping to get your attention and interest. Guess what, it worked.

Andy Rooney on "60 Minutes" made a good point recently. He mentioned how the Tsunami disaster was so bad, that we lacked the words to describe it. This is because we use the most extreme adjectives every day. It's a kind of verbal inflation... I suppose it one of the forces that causes languages to evolve.
bill Bronze Star Survey Creator
(reply to CarolL) posted 26-Jan-2005 9:27am  
I fixed the question for you.
posted 26-Jan-2005 10:56am  
When it is sanctioned by a government it is considered assassination.
(reply to bill) posted 26-Jan-2005 11:32am  
Thanks so much. That's really nice smiley:::smile
posted 26-Jan-2005 11:37am  
An assassination is the pre-meditated murder of an individual that has been specifically selected due to their status and position

However, it's not simply a matter of how famous the intended victim is. An assassination is when the victim has been selected for the express purpose of achieving a political aim.

e.g Indira Gandhi and Airey Neave were assassinated. Tupac and John Lennon got shot.
(reply to Updown) posted 26-Jan-2005 12:01pm  
On the contrary. Assassinations are often carried out by politically disenfranchised extremists groups who deliberately target either members of the government or people with links to the establishment.

The INLA, for instance, were a Northern Irish terrorist splinter group - an offshoot of the IRA. In 1979, they assassinated Airey Neave MP who had been recently appointed to the position of Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Neave was a war hero. He was the first British officer to successfully escape from Colditz after being detained there as a POW during WWII. He was also one of the key figures in Margaret Thatcher's rise to power.

He was targeted by the INLA because he wanted to handle the situation in Northern Ireland in an increasingly militaristic, hardline way. A statement released by the INLA justified his death by claiming that he engaged in
"rabid militarist calls for more repression against the Irish people".
posted 26-Jan-2005 1:21pm  
I suppose only presidents and political figures are assasinated.

Rap starts aren't 'assasinated' yet, JFK, Reagan, FDR, and Lincoln have either been, or had attempted assasinations.
Biggles Bronze Star Survey Creator
posted 26-Jan-2005 2:04pm  
When it's politically motivated.
Enheduanna Survey Central Subscriber
posted 26-Jan-2005 2:43pm  
I would say it has to do with status/position, especially political. I wouldn't call it an assassination attempt against Carson, though; I'd call that attempted murder.
posted 26-Jan-2005 4:29pm  
if the person is at least a district level political leader, either a leader of the legilative or executive branch or a judge.

or if you are a very famous rapper

they Survey Central Subscriber Bronze Star Survey Creator
posted 26-Jan-2005 5:56pm  
Assasination is the murder of a public figure... so I'm really not sure which of your choices to pick.
posted 26-Jan-2005 9:47pm  
Murder becomes assassination when the victim is someone known to the perpetrator only by reputation. So if you kill your spouse, it doesn't matter if they are a prominent political leader, it isn't an assassination. On the other hand, if you kill a homeless person that you saw in a documentary on homelessness and the reason you killed them had something to do with the information in the documentary, it would be an assassination.
Biggles Bronze Star Survey Creator
posted 26-Jan-2005 10:05pm  
Interesting that the dictionary makes no mention of political gain or public figures...just "unexpected or treacherous murder" although the second definition does say "usually for impersonal reasons".
posted 27-Jan-2005 1:51pm  
Generally speaking, it's when the target is killed for his/her significance or position rather than out of personal animosity or rivalry. This most commonly applies to murder committed for political purposes, but it's not necessarily the case.
(reply to icurok) posted 27-Jan-2005 2:59pm  
It is hard to argue with your logic. I see your point.
romkey Survey Central Gold Subscriber
posted 27-Jan-2005 3:12pm  
When it involves an assassin - someone who's paid to murder someone else. Although... the dictionary says it involves a "surprise attack" and says nothing about money.
romkey Survey Central Gold Subscriber
(reply to CarolL) posted 27-Jan-2005 3:14pm  
I was about to say "but it looks fine to me!" and then I read that bill had fixed it... smiley:::wink but then, what're a few esses between friends?
(reply to romkey) posted 27-Jan-2005 6:52pm  
I had put 'one' instead of 'what' in the question...wasn't that nice that he fixed it?
romkey Survey Central Gold Subscriber
(reply to CarolL) posted 27-Jan-2005 9:46pm  
bill's good that way smiley:::wink
posted 28-Jan-2005 6:16am  
1 : to injure or destroy unexpectedly and treacherously.
2 : to murder by sudden or secret attack usually for impersonal reasons.

The crime of unlawfully killing a person especially with malice aforethought.

By these definitions, a victim might realize that he/she will be murdered while the assassination victim never saw it coming...
(reply to CarolL) posted 28-Jan-2005 6:23am  
I love the etymology of words... Check how assassin came about;

Etymology: Medieval Latin assassinus, from Arabic hashshAshIn, plural of hashshAsh one who smokes or chews hashish, from hashIsh hashish
1 capitalized : one of a secret order of Muslims that at the time of the Crusades terrorized Christians and other enemies by secret murder committed under the influence of hashish
2 : a person who commits murder; especially : one who murders a politically important person either for hire or from fanatical motives
posted 28-Jan-2005 6:31am  
definatly your status/position, if someone was gonna try to murder my stoned ass over an eighth, that would be attempeted murder, but when you have many fans, you also have many people that dont like you, it wouldnt sound right if you heard on the news "theres been an attempted murder on george W." you expect to here assasinasion, although, if you heard on the news "theres been an attempeted assasination of 1 of them thugs on 18th street" youd probly think What The Fudge, all about status, but its all the same
romkey Survey Central Gold Subscriber
(reply to Irene007) posted 28-Jan-2005 7:19pm  
according to Robert Anton Wilson, hashshashIn came about from a fellow named Hassan I Sabbah who trained assassins not to fear death by giving them a glimpse of the paradise of Allah by doping them up on hashish and having them served a wonderful meal by the beautiful women who awaited them after death.
(reply to romkey) posted 28-Jan-2005 10:30pm  
> according to Robert Anton Wilson, hashshashIn came about from
> a fellow named Hassan I Sabbah who trained assassins not to fear death
> by giving them a glimpse of the paradise of Allah by doping them up
> on hashish and having them served a wonderful meal by the beautiful
> women who awaited them after death.

Some men can be so easily seduced by the smell of pussy... A light narcotic drug and a few erotic suggestions - et voilą! Murderers... smiley:::wink

Compared to Muslims, I prefer the Vikings' Valhalla (at least Valkyries don't have to remain virgins in their heaven!!) smiley:::raspberry
romkey Survey Central Gold Subscriber
(reply to Irene007) posted 29-Jan-2005 9:36am  
heh heh heh... smiley:::wink

I always thought Valhalla sounded like a great idea, too.
posted 29-Jan-2005 7:06pm  
Chris Rock........... said it best:

"........... People were saying Biggie Smalls was assassinated and Tupac Shakur was assassinated, Martin Luthor King WAS assassinated, Malcolm X WAS assassinated ..... those other two Ni**ers were just SHOT!!!!!!!
(reply to romkey) posted 29-Jan-2005 7:22pm  
I think they have beer there... smiley:::grin
posted 10-Mar-2005 5:04pm  
Well, I think that the difference has to be what effect comes out of the murder, example, if it is for a political end, it's assassination. Maybe. But I have not studied politics or law, so I maybe completely wrong.
posted 22-Mar-2005 3:25pm  
An assassination attempt is a murder organized by a group of people, and carefully planned ahead. At least, that's what I'm always used the term to be.
posted 31-Mar-2005 11:41am  
The difference is status/position, isn't it?
A politician is assassinated, John Lennon was murdered.
posted 9-Apr-2005 11:01am  
Assassinations are political.
posted 10-Apr-2005 11:56pm  
I think murder is when you just want to kill some one so you do...and thats a murder...but assassination is when you get payed to do it.
posted 12-Apr-2005 8:04am  
I think status and position is the major criterion. I don't think an attempt on a celeb's life can qualify in importance to the intentional murder of a statesman.
posted 22-May-2007 12:34am  
Assassination is always politically motivated.

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